Why Danielle Smith and Pierre Poilievre will both lose next elections

I promised to write a blog on why I think both will lose next elections so here it is. Like any prediction, it is just that and there is always a possibility of being wrong. But I believe Smith only has a 20% chance of beating Notley in the election this May and Poilievre has a 20% chance of becoming PM after next election. Obviously if party keeps Poilievre and doesn’t dump him, then his chances of becoming PM are somewhat higher but still under 50%. So it is just a prediction, but I believe it is well grounded. I don’t just look at polls, I also look at past elections and overall values of the electorate and how they align with various leaders. And I believe with good reason both Poilievre and Smith are offside with majority of the electorate.

I have blogged multiple times why I think Alberta NDP will win next election and all the reasons still continue to stand notwithstanding some polls suggesting UCP is tied or slightly ahead. The biggest reasons I believe Notley will win are two fold: 1. In tough times, people prefer stability over chaos and having seen both as premiers, Notley clearly represents stability while Smith represents chaos. 2. Best premier is often a good indicator and polls show Notley has a double digit lead here. UCP tied or ahead is not a total surprise as Alberta by nature is a conservative province. Its not much different than pre-election Ontario polls showing a much closer race or 2008 federal election showing Liberals and Tories tied. But in both cases if you looked at best premier/best PM rating, that would have given strong hints on which direction things were going to go. Usually incumbent has an edge here so fact Smith trailing by double digits is why I am confident once election campaign starts, things will widen. Those saying UCP now but Notley as best premier are likely people who normally vote Conservative but prefer Notley over Smith and once election gets under way, I expect most of them to swing over to the NDP. Some have suggested unpopularity of Trudeau will sink Notley, but I have found provincial and federal politics are often different beasts. If they were not, Ontario would have a Liberal government as would all four Atlantic provinces, not just one and BC would have a hung parliament relatively equally split between Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP not an NDP majority (Yes I know BC Liberals more like conservatives than Liberals thus my whole point). So I believe tying Notley to Trudeau will work well with base who is going to vote UCP anyways but not with the key swing voters UCP needs to win. Those voters more interested in how can government fix provincial issues not pick fights with feds.

For federal, many from Conservative base I interact with are positive Poilievre will be next PM and think Trudeau is absolutely hated by the whole population. Reality is too many in base live in echo chambers and need to get out of them. Trudeau may be less popular than he was in 2015, but his approval rating is not far off 2019, 2021 and similar to Doug Ford last June while higher than Harper in 2015. So while his approval rating is not great, it is hardly fatal. Instead my reasoning that Poilievre won’t win is based both on a combination of polls (his approval ratings are not good, especially with women) and past elections (2004 federal and 2014 Ontario spring to mind). Canada is by nature a centre-left country so small government, bashing political elites, and overall populism are not vote winners and people’s views don’t change radically overnight; it is a long gradual process. Even if country has moved right since 2015 (I don’t think it has), its not been that dramatic. Simply speaking, Poilievre is too radical a departure from what Canadians are used to. Some say same about Trudeau and while true in governance, Liberals in past under Chretien and Martin ran on fairly left wing platforms; they just governed closer to centre. That suggests to me internal polling shows most Canadians like left wing policies and more it was realization they don’t work why past Liberal leaders avoided them. By contrast, PCs prior to merger often ran as dead centre and more or less accepted the Laurentian consensus but just urged a more cautious approach. Reason political parties don’t run on overly right wing platforms as they know full well that cohort is too small to win an election. And by and large that is true. Maybe in Rural Prairies that type of thinking is popular, but that is less than 10% of Canada’s population. Likewise rise has been more due to influence of social media so more American politics seeping northward as well as more going into echo chambers. In US, that type of politics may not represent majority of Americans, but probably appeals to around 40% which is a sizeable chunk while in Canada closer to 15-20% so not non-existent, but not nearly enough to win either.

Below I will debunk some of the arguments people use to say Poilievre will win

  1. No PM in past century has won four straight terms: That is true, but also no Liberal government save 1980-1984 has been in office for less than 13 straight years so just because hasn’t happened doesn’t mean cannot.
  2. Inflation and people struggling will lead to defeat: No doubt people struggling makes Liberals vulnerable, but question becomes is alternative better. And most believe we need more not less government to handle this. I may be skeptical of bigger government, but that doesn’t mean its not popular
  3. 8 of 10 provinces have Conservative governments showing it is popular: CAQ in Quebec and Atlantic PCs (especially in Nova Scotia and PEI) are far more centrist than Poilievre while Doug Ford may have some similarities but has since 2020 shown a lot more pragmatism. Whenever he reverts to more ideological dogmatism, his approval ratings suffer and his willingness to pivot is big reason he has lasted as long as he has. Sure maybe Alberta & Saskatchewan like this (I am not sure on even that) but winning those two provinces won’t win a national election.
  4. There is a strong backlash against political elites: Many say living in Vancouver, I need to get outside my bubble, but I would say same with right. Fact is people may not care for political elites, but they dislike wealthy and corporate elites even more. Most say Tories are party for the haves not have nots whether true or not. And if you want to take on wealthy and corporate elites, you need bigger government. I may not be wise economically, but it sure as Hell is popular politically.
  5. Right is rising globally: Canada is somewhat unique. I know we aren’t supposed to push idea of Canadian exceptionalism but fact is we are more urban, more educated, and more diverse than most thus why right wing populism has its followers, but not in sufficient enough numbers to win.

Also for Poilievre winning popular vote as we saw in 2019 and 2021 is not sufficient to win most seats. Tories need about a 4 point lead to win more seats and polls are mixed on that. Likewise if Liberals + NDP have 170 or more seats, Liberals will remain in power irrespective of who wins most seats. We are not a presidential system, but under Westminster parliamentary system, it is whomever can maintain confidence of house. Some suggest BQ will back up Poilievre but I am skeptical of that. In Quebec, he is super unpopular and BQ knows if they support him, they risk annihilation in subsequent election. If Charest or O’Toole were leader, I would be more inclined to agree but with Poilievre no. So it is majority or bust and I don’t see a path for a Poilievre majority. I am not even sure he will hold seats they currently have. And for those saying Liberals in power too long, Liberals in 2004 federally and Ontario 2014 had been in power even longer yet in both cases Conservative parties did even worse than O’Toole did in 2021 due to leaders being seen as too extreme. As such I believe looking at not just polls, but past elections and values would give logical conclusion Notley will this May and Liberals (whomever leader may be) will win next federal election. Probably not a blowout for Notley and likewise next Liberal government likely another minority.

6 thoughts on “Why Danielle Smith and Pierre Poilievre will both lose next elections

  1. I think people are declaring the ABNDP loss way to early. This election will be a complete mess. A few hundred votes(maybe thousands) votes in various ridings especially in calgary will end up deciding who wins or not. Both parties likely have a floor of around 40 seats to. Like that recent think hq poll showed neither party has locked down enough seats to get a majority at this point. The ABNDP has a hard path to a majority but a viable one. They need more messaging discipline at this point to push themselves towards a majority though.


    1. I think floor is a bit lower than 40 seats as lots of close ones in Calgary but agree neither party has a majority locked down now. I think UCP does best off name while NDP does best off leader thus why I think NDP win as during campaigns more focus on leader. If Alberta had US style elections, you would have Notley elected as premier, but both house and senate would be UCP controlled. But off course that is not the case but just saying Notley outruns her party while Smith is an anchor on party.


  2. Miles as almost always, I find the analyses behind your election predictions convincing. It sometimes matters much more than it should who the leaders are and not enough t other times. What is most worrisome to me about so many of the leaders we are seeing both federally and provincially is how resolutely unimpressive they are. I think Notley is an outstanding positive exception to this downward trend, irrespective of how much you like or don’t like her party. And when one sees how Smith “leads” – and the chaos it has already engendered in a few short months – Notley’s leadership is more important than ever in a time where cooperation between feds and provinces is critical, and integrity is essential. I hope for Alberta’s sake and all our sakes, the right leader wins a majority in Alberta when election time comes.


    1. If it was any other province besides Alberta or Saskatchewan, it wouldn’t even be close. But Alberta is by nature a conservative province so fact NDP has a chance against a united right shows just how extreme and bad Smith is.

      Likewise agree that this anti-Ottawa sentiment is unhelpful. I get most Albertans don’t like Trudeau, but such combative stance is unhelpful and fact is Eastern Canada is not hostile to Alberta as some claim. Alberta benefits a lot from being part of Canada and needs someone who values that, not who is hostile to our country.


  3. I think the pollsters need sub-provincial polls to help deduce the national atmosphere. I think the lead for Poilievre is real and legitimate. However, I don’t believe it is in the right places. I think, if an election was held today, the CPC would win the most votes even in Ontario, but it would not translate into the most seats (maybe 10 more).

    That is because I believe the LPC is holding strong in the urban/suburban Golden Horseshoe and in Ottawa, where about 2/3 of the province’s seats are. However, at the same time, I believe they are being shredded in the rest of the province. That may be enough to flip a few seats in places like Windsor and northern Ontario, but everything else is just turning wins into blowouts in rural ridings. The same may be happening in British Columbia as well, which only adds maybe 2 to 4 additional seats.

    As a result, I think polling the GTA and GVA are key since that would be needed to confirm those thoughts.

    In Alberta, the same thing may be happening, but I think the UCP do have the advantage right now – the words “Just Transition” are toxic there. That will put Notley deeply on the defensive as she is tied to the federal Liberals and NDP, and voters in suburban Calgary may be inclined to begrudgingly vote UCP to keep their main industry alive.


    1. I agree on Poilievre and not just size of wins but also number of raw voters. Turnout tends to be lower in urban areas than rural. Rural tends to be older so more show up as well as ridings divided up by total population, not eligible voters and GTA and GVRD have a higher percentage under 18 or not Canadian citizens than you find in rural areas. Likewise even if citizens, turnout generally lower amongst immigrants.

      For Alberta, I agree things have tightened a bit, but I still think best premier where Notley leads gives her an advantage, but yeah Smith definitely has much better chance than did a few months ago.


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